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Climate change is endangering the Bulgarian pink tomato

The pink tomato, grown in Bulgaria, is losing a battle with the mining moth. The Tuta absoluta caterpillar, which can destroy 100% of the pink tomato crop, first appeared in Bulgaria a few years ago. Desislava Dimitrova, a professor at the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS), is the coordinator of Slow Food for Bulgaria – a non-profit association for the preservation of traditional, food, and cultural diversity. She explained that Kurtovo Konare is a historical place for Bulgarian agriculture as it is where the first pink tomatoes were grown. The life of the locals has been permanently connected with vegetable production for decades.

The Kurtovo Konare pink tomato has a very thin skin, which makes it difficult to transport, but its advantage is that it is very durable – it can last more than ten days without rotting and retains its taste. However, the changing climate is having an effect on the community’s efforts to grow the crop.

Warming temperatures have meant increasing numbers of mining moth larvae are able to survive the winter, resulting in a steady growth in the population of the moths, which feed on the tomatoes, in Kurtovo Konare.


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